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Do I Need a COVID Test to Return to UK?

Do I Need a COVID Test to Return to UK?

Kasim Javed |

Union Jack flag with Big Ben in background

When it comes to travelling after the globally affecting COVID-19 outbreak, understandably some countries have different rules and restrictions when it comes to entry.


These measures are taken in order to avoid another lockdown and the spreading of infection.

At Official Rapid Tests, we are here to help you navigate this complicated and ever-changing situation. Today we will be answering the question ‘Do I need a COVID test to return to the UK?’

Why is testing still a thing?

The reason for testing still going on is the prerogative of that country’s leader. Of course, the health and safety of their citizens is the driving factor. The death of many people could have been prevented in some countries if precautions had been taken at an earlier time.

It also must be considered that economically the countries may not be able to recover if they have to go into another mass lockdown, so they want to prevent any outbreak on their own soil before inviting anybody from outside.

However as this past year has shown, travel bans can be lifted, the best way to stay aware is to check the government gateway’s advice on foreign travel, in which you can search the current requirements to enter any country.

So, is there a return to UK COVID test?

Do I need a COVID test to return to the UK?

Nasal swab covid test in laboratory

You may be wondering ‘What COVID test do I need to return to the UK?’ As it stands, to return or visit the UK, you are not required to take a test or fill out any forms, regardless of your vaccination status. There is no return to the UK COVID test.

With that being said, it can be likely that depending on where you visit, you may need to show proof of a negative test or vaccination. Acceptable tests vary from country to country, so it is best to check the guidance before and during your visit.

It is always better to be cautious and considerate of the people around you, this is why even having an antigen test handy can help you not accidentally infect anyone close to you, or members of the public who are at risk or have existing health conditions.

So if you’re asking yourself ‘do I need a COVID test to return to the UK’? The answer is no. But in this age of uncertainty, it is always better to be prepared, as guidelines can change instantly depending on the circumstances.

So what should you do if you feel ill whilst you are abroad?

Precautions to take if you feel ill abroad

African man unwell in bed drinking hot beverage

  • Isolate yourself by staying indoors and avoiding contact with people.
  • Follow the local public health advice in the country.
  • If you are Covid-positive, you may have to cancel any planned activities or trips, or postpone them until you have fully recovered from the virus.
  • Do not leave your quarantined room, interact with others, or board a plane if you are still Covid-positive, even if you are showing no symptoms.
  • Ventilate the rooms you have been in by opening windows and leaving them open for at least 10 minutes after you have left the room.
  • Inform the staff at your hotel or accommodation that you have tested positive for Covid and you are isolating. Also inform them once you leave isolation, so they can sanitise and clean your room afterwards.
  • If you have a contact tracing app for the country you have travelled to, enter your details on there, so this can help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
  • Ideally, you will have taken out travel insurance, so inform your travel insurance provider that you have tested positive for Covid-19. They will advise you in case you need any medical treatment, medical supplies, or if you have any Covid-related travel disruptions.
  • Speak to your hotel and airline in case you need to extend your stay in the country.
  • Once you have fully recovered from Covid, check with your health provider that you are fit to travel again.

Obviously, we can feel ill for a variety of reasons, however making sure it isn’t COVID would be a top priority, you can do that by taking an antigen test. We’ll break down this procedure you can do alone, with results arriving in 15 minutes.

Taking an antigen test

Antigen testing kits have become a common method in establishing whether or not the testee has COVID. This is because antigen testing kits can be done from home, with results made apparent in a much shorter frame of time.

As opposed to PCR test kits that provide results in 24 hours (due to them being tested in labs), antigen kits provide results in 15 minutes. The method of testing follows a simple procedure, different to the PCR method. The method for taking a rapid antigen test:

(Not all rapid antigen tests are the same. E.g. some test kits come with the tube and liquid in separate parts. So, always read the instructions on the box or leaflet before you do the test.)

Start by washing your hands with soap or clean with sanitiser, then grab a watch or timer.

In the test kit, there should be :

  • The white strip which shows you the test result
  • A long stick with 1 soft end (swab)
  • A tube with liquid inside
  • A lid for the tube

When taking the test, make sure to:

  1. Take the long stick (swab) out of the packet. Do not touch the soft part at the end of the stick.
  2. Put the soft part of the stick up your nose.
  3. Put it all the way up until you feel it touch the back of your nose.
  4. Rotate the swab around the inside of your nose.
  5. Count to 15 slowly.
  6. When the stick is in your nose, you can press on the side of your nose to ensure the swab has made proper contact.
  7. Repeat the process in the other nostril with the same swab you used initially.
  8. When you are done, put the stick into the tube.
  9. Stir the stick in the tube 10 times.
  10. Gently squeeze the sides of the tube together 10 times.
  11. Take the stick out of the tube.
  12. Put the cap tightly on the tube.
  13. Squeeze 3 or 4 drops of liquid onto the tiny circle on your white strip.
  14. Set your timer or watch to the time that the box says (this could be 10, 15 or 20 minutes).
  15. When the time is up, check the strip to see what it says. Only read the strip at that time and not later. It might be incorrect then.

Do you need an antigen test kit? Our website provides these test kits for you. Want to know some more information about antigen test kits? Our blog contains all the relevant information that you need.

Official Rapid Tests

Official Rapid Tests is here to help you before you leave, or before you return, simply head to our website, order as many kits as you require, and use them at the appropriate times. There is no limit to how many you can order.

Whether it is for you or family members or friends, it is a good idea to be prepared as the guidance and restrictions may change if there are any outbreaks in the country you are going to be visiting.

Here to help you with your testing needs

covid test supplies

Official Rapid Tests is a trusted global supplier of Covid testing. We are the highest-rated UK Government listed provider on Trustindex. Even though some countries have lifted their travel restrictions, other countries may still have stricter guidance. That is why we are here to help in this ever-changing landscape.

The EU and the UK Government verify all Official Rapid Tests. We work with qualified front-line doctors and tech experts to develop the most convenient testing solutions for travel. We blend technology and medical expertise to offer the market the fastest and most convenient PCR testing service.

If you are not sure which Covid test you may need, take our Quiz on our webpage here, and this will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.

Within this article, we hope to have helped give an understanding of your travelling needs whilst answering the question ‘Do I need a COVID test to return to the UK?’

Find out more about Official Rapid Tests by browsing our website here.

We have over 120 clinics nationwide where you can get a Covid test. Find your nearest test centre by clicking here.

We are open 24/7, seven days a week.

Read more articles on travelling and Covid tests on our blog here.

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